Ethnic differences in the process of labour-market entry: the case of second generation in France

Dominique Meurs, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Ariane Pailhé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Second generation faces more difficulties in their access to the French labour market than natives and the risk of unemployment is exceptionally high for North African groups. According to the hypothesis of a segmented assimilation, the assimilation of different groups of migrants and of their descendants may follow different paths. In the US, racial discrimination plays a central role in this phenomenon. In the case of France, Silberman & al. (2007) argued that markers such as names are more responsible than skin colours for the discrimination on the labour market. To test this hypothesis, we take advantage of the availability in the last French labour force surveys of information on the nationality, the country of origin and the social status of parents’ individuals. We compare the situation on the labour market of male natives and of three sub-groups of second generation: men who are born to immigrant parents, men born to a migrant father and a native mother and men born to a native father and a migrant mother. We postulate that the (father) name is used by the employer to deduce the origin of the person. So the name reveals the origin in the case of people born to a migrant father. We estimate a probit equation of the probability to be unemployed controlling for human capital variables, region and parents’ characteristics. Our results indicate that North African second generation born to intermarried parents has a higher risk of unemployment if born to a migrant father than born to a migrant mother. This effect is not observed in the case of South European group. We conclude that a statistical discrimination based on the name plays probably a large role in the high rate of unemployment of North African second generation on the French labour market.

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Presented in Session 78: The labour market position of the second generation